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Digital Design and Development of tourism products and services


Through the 3D supplier modules hotels, airlines, yachting companies and other suppliers design and produce their products using the same system philosophy; hence their services will be available for processing in the tour operator's database. The whole concept can be perceived as a new business model since suppliers work on line and in real time within a single system, which is practically a single and unique market. Therefore, in order for any supplier to sustain or increase sales it secures competitiveness by continuously updating its services/products or prices. On the other hand the 3D supplier module, which is based on the software agent philosophy, provides the framework with which all of the above can be realised. At the end of the day this new business model of enhanced competition within the system increases overall (system's) competition. Those suppliers that take their business inside the system, as well as the tour operator will be benefit by producing competitive products against other suppliers and tour operators. This competitive advantage reflects on the clients. The 3D supplier modules (and therefore the system) cover a wide range of specialised tourism facilities. Moreover, the benefits of the system is that the suppliers basically input information relevant to the services or products they offer, but it is the system that leads the suppliers in product design and it is the system's "responsibility" the actual product development and promotion or sale.
In the 3D system emphasis was placed on the customer interaction, embracing all elements required for effective e-commerce. The client module offers the advantage of producing products (tourism packages) tailored made to customers' specifications and in real time by providing an interactive network for instant exchange of information. The innovation of this system is the fact, that most contemporary tourism sites are either build for marketing reasons (presenting the tourism products), or at most, are engaged in the business of e-commerce by providing ready-made and relatively fixed products. In the case of the 3D system the customer decides when he/she wants to travel, how wants to travel, which places and particular locations wants to visit, what excursions is he/she interested in, where to stay, what accommodation facilities wants to enjoy and even more personal preferences such as medical services and so on. The actual mean for the customer to interact with the system is the 3D client module. The web site therefore, is the far most important part of the model for the customer's point of view. With this factor in mind, the 3D system was developed to provide a friendly site that incorporates all necessary elements of User Requirements. This is obvious from the 'User Requirements Document'' and the 'Zero Code Interface'' developed early in project through an extensive research focused on professional opinions and practices. Evidently, the site is indeed user friendly, and the customer can input all the necessary information to design his/her "vacation package". The customer may input general information-requests regarding his/hers preferences on the location, time period, accommodation, health services, cultural events and flight services, that define the basic "modules" of a tourism product. Keep in mind, that the "modules" or options are the result of an extensive and excusive research and analysis of user requirements and not the result of guessing or theorising. Thus, it is recommended the reader, to recur the information provided in the User Requirements Document and the Zero Code Interface for a better understanding how and why the development team used those options for building up the 3D website.
The basic idea behind the 3D model is the cooperation of independent business suppliers such as hotels, airline companies, and so on under the 'umbrella' of a SM size tour operator. This is possible with the system that is first of all web, smart agent based and coordinates, processes data for the design and development of tourism products through a system's model, which incorporates intranet capabilities and facilities. In other words, the central tour operator module works as a link among the customer, the system, the suppliers and vice versa. The 3D system use software agent tools, which co-operate through a common database and the 3D tour operator module. The business innovation in the tour operator system is the fact that there are no predefined products. Despite the fact that the suppliers input various specific products, these don't make-up the final or complete products presented to the customer. The suppliers actually provide "small" individual sub-products, which are exploited by the system to develop final products based on clients' queries. Thus, on the end users can build-up tourism packages according to their preferences via the 3D website. The requirements of every individual customer become transferred in electronic form in a single database. Moreover the tour operator module can be perceived as the "system's controller" being centrally responsible for the maintenance or up-grading of the system. The term new technologies refer to the use of newly developed software programs that are required to develop the 3D system such Microsoft InterDev and Microsoft Transactional SQL Servers. In addition to these software packages that served as the tools for developing the 3D system new techniques, models or philosophies in software development became employed.

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